Watching a GirlSubmitted by Ducky at 2008-07-30 09:23:16 EDT
Rating: 1.92 on 28 ratings (28 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
Watching a girl.
She's pounding at her laptop. She doesn't know what to write. She just knows that she needs to keep her fingers busy so that she doesn't start picking again. She needs to focus her attention on something other than the itchiness of her scalp. It starts with running her hands through her hair because she's feeling a little stressed out. Nothing wrong with that...at first.
But that progresses to scratching – scratching and scratching at her head until you can look over and see her fingers and the nails are caked with oily skin and occasionally blood. This scabs over and the next time she feels it...feels the stress, she isn't scratching skin – she's pulling off scabs of coagulated blood.
She pulls her hair out when she has trouble coping – starts at the end, carefully works her bony fingers up the strand to the root, pinches, and pulls. If there's a significant head on the root, she'll sometimes chew on it, sometimes not. She has a noticeable bald patch – hairs in various levels of regrowth spiking up everywhere. Visually, she's actually quite hideous.
I wonder what she's thinking about. I wonder if she's conscious of what she's doing.
I'm reminded of the beginning of A Scanner Darkly.
Watching this girl is making my whole body itch. When I was 10, I stayed for a week with my aunt and two cousins – they had both contracted lice from school. I remember watching my aunt comb through their hair, slowly and carefully – the disgusting smell of the Kwalada (sp) permeating my nostrils in the same way ammonia does when hair is dyed in poorly ventilated washrooms. She smeared it all over their heads and told them not to fidget or scratch. Easy to say, but how can you resist, when it's all you're thinking about.
Poking an un-gloved finger through hair thick with dye to get that one, little, spot. Or poking a stick down the length of a cast, or lightly running fingers over peeling skin after a burn...looking desperately for relief.
Back to watching a girl.
Her teeth are a yellowish brown – they match two fingers on her right hand. I think of her breath – a mixture of smoke, coffee and cream, hair grease, and bits of food from god knows when. I think of her tongue – a thick film of gunk growing on the back of it, threatening to spread to the tonsils and adenoids. Vile.
I wonder if she knows I'm staring at her. I have a bit of a problem with that...it's not malicious, but when I see something that grabs my attention, it's hard to get me off of it. Reflective sunglasses do the trick on most days – my peripherals are non existent. She's gesturing with her arms now – flailing them around – some sort of strange gang sign she's flashing? Is she looking my way purposefully? Or is she trying to evade a wasp? Maybe she's beginning to seizure. I've never seen that outside of a movie before – will she begin to froth at the mouth? Swallow her tongue? No...she's not seizuring – she's standing up and walking towards me.
“Bitch what the fuck is your problem?”
“I beg your pardon?” I ask innocently.
“I can hear you talking about me bitch. Stop fucking talking about me!” she spat.
“I'm not sure what you're talking ab...” I began, but she reached over, grabbed the recorder sticking out of my purse,
“ She's pounding at her laptop. She doesn't know what to write. She just knows that she needs to keep her fingers busy so that she doe...”
“I'm writing a goddamned paper bitch, for a communications class – and as for everything else, you need to mind your fucking mouth or I'm going to close it for you”.
I could feel the heat rushing to my face – my pale skin giving me away. I said nothing. I didn't want to make matters worse – it was clear that she was in a volatile state.
“Volatile??!! Why the fuck are you talking like that you psycho?! Your fucking skin isn't even that fucking pale!” she yelled.
She hastily packed up her laptop and stomped off in a huff – looking back at me menacingly. I slowly and calmly walked to the counter to order myself another coffee.
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